The streaming space is getting more crowded than a New York subway before COVID. But, one new subscription streaming service is primed to stand out from the pack.
Paramount Plus, which replaced CBS All Access in March 2021, offers a unique combination of live streaming content and on-demand movies and shows.
Priced at $10 or less per month, it could be a great option for cord-cutters who love CBS content, Star Trek, sports, and more.
What is Paramount+?
Paramount+ is a stand-alone video streaming service that offers a mix of on demand content, a huge library of movies, live sports, a live stream of your local CBS station, and original TV shows and movies.
The Paramount streaming service replaced CBS All Access in March 2021 after Viacom and CBS merged.
It’s similar to Peacock and Discovery+ in that it offers original shows and movies plus content from popular television stations with limited commercial interruptions.
*Related: Read our Discovery+ review here to learn more about the new streaming service.*
The platform is different because, unlike similarly-priced streaming services, the Paramount Plus app includes live TV. This makes it a unique option for those looking to cut the cord on cable.
Plans and Pricing Details
There are two plans:
- A limited commercial option for $4.99 a month or $49.99 a year
- A commercial-free option for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year
Both plans include four channels of live TV. Keep in mind that there will be commercials on those live channels.
Plans and prices will change in June 2021. The lower-priced plan will cost $4.99 a month for limited commercials and no live TV. The premium plan will cost $9.99 and will include live TV and no commercials in on-demand content.
Paramount has said that if you sign up for the $5.99 limited commercial plan before June, they will grandfather you in and let you keep those four live TV channels at the lower rate.
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Unlike cable, there’s no contract or fees. You can start and stop your service at any time, cancelling whenever you want
Free Trial Promotion
Paramount Plus offers live streaming at no cost for seven days when you sign up for their free trial.
This is a great way to test the service and see how well your internet connection streams live sports and other content. You can also make sure the Paramount app has the content you want.
Since every episode of every show is not available, you’ll want to use your free trial to search for shows and movies to see if you can get what you want.
What Do You Get With Paramount+?
The streaming TV app offers 30,000 TV shows and 2,500 movies, including more than 30 original series, live sports, news, and popular CBS comedies, dramas, and reality TV shows.
It includes content from networks such as BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Smithsonian Channel, and a substantial library of movies from Paramount.
TV Shows and Movies on Paramount+
If you’re looking for variety, this streaming service offers plenty. That said, not every episode of every show is available, so use the free trial to search for your favorites first before committing to the monthly payment.
Popular series include:
- Everybody Hates Chris
- The Game
- Hit the Floor
- Real Husbands of Hollywood
The platform includes CBS shows like:
- Hawaii Five-O
- Blue Bloods
- The Equalizer (exclusive, original series)
- Daytime TV favorites like The Young & The Restless
If comedy is your thing, you’ll have access to:
- Hot in Cleveland
- Reno 911!
- Key and Peele
- Chappelle’s Show
For MTV fans, series include:
- The Real World
- Teen Mom 2
- RuPaul Drag Race All Stars
To keep the kids entertained, you’ll find shows like:
- Kamp Koral (original series)
- The SpongeBob Movie (original content)
- Henry Danger
- Bubble Guppies
You’ll be able to watch series including:
- America’s Hidden Stories
- Air Disasters
- Secrets Unlocked
- Building Star Trek
- Strange Creatures
Star Trek on Paramount+
The app calls out the hugely popular Star Trek shows and movies separately, making them easy to find. Its “Space: The Final Frontier” collection includes:
- Star Trek: Discovery (original series)
- Star Trek: Picard (original series)
- Star Trek: Lower Decks (original series)
- Star Trek X Nemesis
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek IV The Voyage Home
Along with the above options, you can watch Star Trek: The Original Series and six other series related to the space franchise.
On-demand access is offered to thousands of movies. Browse for titles in the following categories: Popular, Action, Comedy, Documentaries, Drama, Thriller, Kids and Family, and A to Z.
Popular titles include:
- The Switch
- Jackass the Movie
- The Indiana Jones franchise
- Mission: Impossible franchise
- The Godfather franchise
Paramount Library of Exclusive Content
In addition to original content, subscribers will enjoy exclusive access to new Paramount Pictures releases. Some films will debut briefly in theaters and then be released directly to Paramount Plus.
Examples include Mission: Impossible 7 and Paw Patrol: The Movie.
Paramount+ has said it will launch 50 original series and movies within its first two years. Some of that includes spinoffs of popular TV series like Yellowstone, along with kids movies and plenty of other titles.
- The Real World Homecoming: New York
- The Stand
- Star Trek Discovery
- The Twilight Zone
- 60 Minutes+
CBS Live Streaming
Four channels of live TV content come with a premium subscription:
- Live feed of your local CBS station
- CBS News live stream
- CBS Sports HQ
- ET Live
The live sports offering includes NFL, NHL, PGA, and live soccer games from the Champions League, Europa League, and Women’s League.
Expand your access to local channels with an antenna like the Mohu Leaf. For a one-time cost of $50 or less, you can enjoy all your local channels for free, for life.
Is Paramount+ the Same as CBS All Access?
Yes. When CBS and Viacom merged in 2020, CBS All Access was rebranded to Paramount Plus.
While it remained mostly unchanged, the new service includes lots of movies and shows from Viacom-owned brands like MTV, BET, and Smithsonian Channel.
If you subscribed to CBS All Access, your account was automatically upgraded to a Paramount+ account. The CBS All Access app was also replaced in all streaming platforms and TVs with the Paramount Plus app.
When you launch the app, you’ll see a layout that’s pretty similar to other streaming services. Along the top, you can filter your content by TV shows, movies, live TV, brands, and news.
You can search for anything by name using the magnifying glass icon. Then, you can click on your profile over on the right and add up to five additional profiles.
It’s important to note that you can only have three simultaneous streams at a time even if you have six different profiles.
It’s also possible to enable parental controls to filter content for both older and younger kids.
A row of content by brand is beneath the main home screen page, followed by categories of content like Trending Shows, Recently Added Shows, Trending Movies, What’s on Live Right Now on CBS, CBS News, CBS sports or ET Live, Original Content, Comedies, Dramas, News, Reality TV, and Daytime TV.
When you click on a show tile, you’ll see that show’s page, where you select a season and episode, and if there are any access extras like clips, outtakes, and other things.
You can also click Movies from the top menu and see a screen of movie tiles that you can click to watch. Movies are organized into Action, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Thriller, and Kids.
While there is no DVR with this streaming service, there is plenty of on-demand content to play, pause, stop and re-watch whenever you want.
How Bad Are the Ads?
Commercials are a necessary evil of most streaming content services. With the exception of platforms like Disney+ and Netflix, every streaming service will break up their content with ads to keep the price down.
Most commercials are between 15 and 90 seconds long and occur in batches of two or three every 30 minutes. Hour-long shows may have between four and five commercial breaks.
If ads are a deal-breaker for you, try the Paramount+ Premium plan free for seven days. After that, pay $9.99 a month to watch all but the live content commercial-free.
All you need to watch Paramount+ is an internet connection and a laptop, desktop, tablet, smartphone, device, or smart TV.
- Like all the major streaming services, the app is available through Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung, LG, and Vizio smart TVs, PS4, Xbox One, and more added all the time.
Pros and Cons
Before signing up for Paramount Plus, make sure to review the pros and cons to ensure the service is right for you.
- Unique blend of on-demand and live content
- Low monthly cost starting at $4.99 per month
- Large selection of popular movies
- Excellent for Trekkies
- Live sports content
- 50 original series and movies
- Early, exclusive access to select Paramount Pictures new release films
- Content is limited to CBS and Viacom-owned brands
- No DVR
- No add-ons to customize content (other than Showtime)
No service is perfect, but for CBS fans, this is an affordable option to stream live sports, news, and exclusive content along with a decent selection of popular movies.
Ease of Use
Get some live TV and sports, plus thousands of episodes of popular TV shows for only $5 per month, and no contract.
✔️ Tons of content
✔️ Affordable way to get the CBS live stream
✔️ 7-day free trial
✔️ Launching with over 30 original series
✔️ Go-to source for Star Trek content
❌ Only CBS and Viacom-content available
❌ Must have ad-free plan to get CBS live stream as of June 2021
❌ No DVR
As is true of any streaming service, whether or not Paramount+ is right for you comes down to what you want to watch and how much you want to spend.
If there are just a few series you want to watch on Paramount Plus but don’t see yourself watching it year-round, sign up when the series you’re interested in drops its new season. Then, cancel it once you are done watching.
Unlike cable, you can start and stop your service whenever you want. This is a great idea and an excellent way to keep your streaming budget in check.
What do you look for in a streaming service? How much do you spend on cable each month?